Monday, April 25, 2011

Hot & sunny Houston

Wow. Its been hot here in Houston. We definitely miss our cool ocean breezes on South Padre Island. It has been a bit hectic as well here.

When we got ready to leave the island, our first issue was that our kitchen slide would not come in. We spent quite a bit of time with Matt using a very large wrench to "coax" the slide into moving and were finally able to roll out. On the way to our campground here in Houston, we pulled the truck, trailer and all into Lowe's to buy some attachments for the drill so that Matt could spend several hours under the slides getting all the rust and "stuff" off the slide mechanisms.

On the drive, Matt noticed that the brakes didn't seem to be working all that well on the trailer. We have now spent days trying to pinpoint the problem and hopefully have them fixed after having the truck & trailer into 3 different shops.

Other than trailer issues, Matt working on a large work project and me registering for graduate school, we have spent some great time with Ted and Annie. Annie just returned from New Orleans so we are looking forward to picking her brain on great restaurants. We attended a beautiful wedding on Saturday down on the shores of Clear Lake for a friend of Matts.

Needless to say with all the unexpected things to do we have had to extend our stay here in Houston for another week. We will still keep the same locations for our drive over to the NC outer banks, just a week delayed.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beaches, Sand, Shells & Wind - Farewell to South Padre Island

We can't believe that we've been here 3 months and are busy packing up to leave on Tuesday.  We've had the carpets cleaned and the wash and wax happens tomorrow morning.  We'll be hitched and packed by tomorrow night and leave early on Tuesday morning to head to Houston.

I wanted to share some photos and videos from the past couple of weeks here on the island.

We have been going to the end of the road on the north end of the island and walking along the deserted beach to pick up seashells and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Beautiful wind swept sandy beaches
No one around - So quiet and beautiful
The shells were great - We found some as large as our hands - I ended up with a large ziploc bag that weighed about 20 pounds that I carried back from our walk.

 Since we are coming so near to the end of our trip here, Matt has been kiteboarding as much as he can in our final days.  I went with him down to the kiting beach on the Laguna Madre side of the island and waded out into the flats with him to take some photos and videos of him horsing around.

Inflatible Pool Toy - Check; Wetsuit - Check; Sunscreen - Check; Big Grin - PRICELESS!!!  Matt getting ready to go kiteboarding today. 

As I was in the water with Matt, I had an opportunity to take some photos from some angles that I normally can't get.  Here he was just getting ready to go back out.

Foot in and ready to power up

Matt, surfboard and the 9meter Cabrina kite

We stopped for dinner on our way home from the kite beach and enjoyed a great margarita and fajitas at Padreritaville.  The waiter was nice enough to snap this photo of us.
And now for some funny videos.  As I mentioned, I was in the water with the camera and as you will see in one of the video's, Matt gets quite close at times.  If you receive this in an email, be sure to go to the BLOG (CLICK HERE) so that you can view the video.

It was pretty light wind today, so there was a lot of clowning around to ward off boredom.  Here, Matt used his surfboard as a very small boat as he skipped across the water.  Not quite the normal methods of riding a surfboard.

In this video, Matt takes a nice little ride, that ends with my favorite...  A BIG SPLASH...


Here Matt gets a little close for comfort to me as I'm filming - Notice the scream and the camera bobble...

Here is a nice little ride, showing off how its done!!!

I think that is all for now.  I'll update once we are on the road and we have some more photos to share.  I've updated the sidebar here on the blog to show our travel itinerary for the next month, so visit the blog if you are wondering where we are (if you get this in email form).

Happy Travels,

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Book Available

Matt has been hard at work compiling a book with some of his favorite Bald Eagle images from last years trip to Haines, Alaska. Haines is one of our favorite photographic locations and we are looking forward to returning in November with our photography tour for some more great shots.

Click below to see a sampling of the book or to order your copy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Shake Rattle & Roll

We had another very windy day yesterday and an even windier night last night.  Needless to say, not much sleep with the trailer rocking and rolling all night long.  Below is the wind chart showing the wind speeds here on the island.  I think we hit the beach about 9am and Matt didn't get home until after 3pm. 

See where the numbers spike through the roof...  we were trying to BBQ outdoors at that point...  Nothing like sand flavored steaks...
We had planned on grilling some steaks on our little outdoor grill and thought we could sneak it in before the cold front hit...  Well, we miscalculated and the 40+ mph gusts actually pinned the trailer door shut on us and we were afraid we would not be able to get outside. It is amazing when the front lines hit down here, the wind goes from nothing to blowing unbelievable gusts.  Usually no rain or anything, just wind, wind & more wind.

Matt enjoyed some great kiteboarding both in the surf and in the flats.  I took my camera down to our beach here at Isla Blanca and took some photos of him enjoying the waves in the morning.

Now that is a BIG grin...

The beach of South Padre Island in the background

Matt and his inflatable pool toys - This is his new 9 meter kite

Jump Baby Jump....  I think I'd jump over those waves too...  Yikes!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

We survived...

Well, we survived the Texas Week spring break or as the locals call it "Hell Week" here on the island.  It was quite busy and we are very happy to have our sleepy little island back.  We've been hanging out and enjoying the wonderful warm weather although it is starting to border on being Hot as we have had temperatures in the 80's for the past week (but NOT complaining).

We are here for another 2 1/2 weeks and then we will head to Houston for a brief stopover for a friends wedding before beginning our trek east and heading up the east coast this summer.  We've put together an itinerary for April and May that gets us to Hatteras, NC where we will hang out for about 3 weeks for Matt to try out the kiteboarding there. 

Here is a map of our proposed route:

Here are our proposed sightseeing activities in each of our stopovers, if anyone has any other ideas, please let us know.
Things to Do / See
 Stay (Days)
Start Date
End Date
South Padre Island


New Orleans
French Quarter, CafĂ© du Monde, French Market, St Louis Cathedral, Cemetary 1 & 2 (tour), Hermann-Grima Historic House, Bourbon Street, Steamboat Natchez, St. Charles Ave Streetcar (Anne Rice's house on 1st St), One Eyed Jacks (bands), Croissant D'Or (pastries),  - Outside Plantation Alley, Bayou Teche Longfellow Evangeline State Historic Site & McIhenny Tabasco Co,
House on Ellicotts Hill, Stanton Hall, Longwood, Rosalie, Melrose Plantation
Vicksburg National Military Park,
First White House of the Confederacy, F Scott Fitzgerald house museum,
Margaret Mitchell House & Museum, Atlanta History Center, World of CocaCola,
Biltmore Estate
Old Salem, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts
Wright Brothers National Memorial,  Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Oracoke village